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Wheels break loose on Edison school bus; driver’s calm actions prevent injuries
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By Eric Lowe
Edison Local Superintendent Bill Beattie praised the efforts of a bus driver involved in an accident last Wednesday on SR 43 in East Springfield.
Beattie said no students were injured, thanks to the skills of driver Vanessa Scott. An exclusive video of the incident taking place shows both tires, hub, and axle on the driver side detaching from her bus and flying into oncoming traffic, hitting a barbed wire fence. There was minor damage to the asphalt due to the impact of the tires and rutting from the bus. The two tires and hub could weigh up to 400 pounds.
“It was a freak accident,” said Beattie. “According to our transportation coordinator, there’s a bolt that holds everything in place and the entire hub well just jumped over top of that bolt.”
After inspection, Beattie indicated everything on the bus seemed intact and without cracks, including the frame, axle, and tubes filled with lube.
Edison’s transportation director is working with an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) mechanic and related to Beattie it’s not an isolated incident, stating it happens on occasions with ODOT trucks.
“At the end of the day, our bus driver did a phenomenal job of getting that bus stopped, doing what she did to make sure she and the students that were still on the bus, did not result in any injuries,” praised Beattie.
He said an investigation into the incident continues.
“We’re going to inspect the same model buses that were purchased in the same year. At the end of the day, our bus driver did a terrific job. There was no vehicle coming in the opposite direction; which could have created a much worse situation than what it was.” Beattie said adding the bus is out of commission now, and perhaps forever.
Scott said she was just doing what she was trained to do.
“I wasn’t scared at the time,” she said, adding that she felt a tremendous amount of adrenaline as it was happening and afterwards. “I knew I needed to get the bus stopped somewhere safe as soon as possible. I was just doing what I believe all Edison drivers are trained for.”
The bus was en route to Amsterdam with 15 students aboard. As Scott was maneuvering a curve, instantaneously the driver-side rear dropped down, hitting the asphalt with sparks flying behind both tires as the wheel hub assembly and axle wereforcefully ejected out the side and from under the bus. Another bus was immediately dispatched to transport children to their homes.
Scott was asked how she felt as soon as she sat down in the seat of her replacement bus.
“I still remained calm because I knew I had to finish my trip. Once I got back to the bus barn, I looked at my phone and had a few messages. My first thought was, ‘Oh good God, I’m going to get eaten alive by people on Facebook’, but that’s not what happened at all.”
She received many praises from social media groups, such as the Facebook group ‘The Buzz in Amsterdam’, a platform used for village residents to socialize current events in and around the Amsterdam area. The group has hundreds of positive responses from residents that include a message from Amsterdam Mayor Jim Phillips, who wrote, “That’s a great a piece of driving! Great job by the driver!”
Asked how she felt about the children, Scott replied, “I get ‘I love you’ from a lot of them as they are getting off the bus and that means the world to me. If one of those kids would have been hurt, I don’t think I would have been able to live with myself. Buses can be replaced, those kids cannot. I’ve learned that I have to talk to them and not at them, and I think I gained a lot of respect. I tell my high school kids, especially on first day, you respect me and my bus and I’ll respect you the same.”
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